Life Lessons: Unconditional Acceptance

Dr. Purushothaman
August 22, 2013

We are often very accepting of other people, but when it comes to ourselves we can be our own “worst critics.” Why is that? Do we expect more from ourselves than others? Is there something deep within ourselves that we don’t like or don’t want to face? Whatever the reasons, greater self-acceptance is something we can all benefit from. Here are five tips to help you develop greater self-acceptance.
1. List Your Unique Qualities

We are all individuals and there is no one exactly like you! Even identical twins have unique qualities and differences. Get out a pen and paper and start listing all of your special qualities. It may be difficult at first. Enlist the help of a friend or family member. It’s often easier for someone else to point out our outstanding qualities.

Unique qualities can be just about anything! Maybe you have a cute way of laughing or an enchanting smile. Perhaps you show great sensitivity towards animals. List whatever you come up with and be sure to keep adding to that list.
2. List Your Accomplishments

Listing your accomplishments is also helpful in developing greater self-acceptance. It doesn’t matter if the accomplishments are big or small. You can even include things from early childhood. Learning to eat, walk and ride a bicycle are all accomplishments! They may not seem like much now that you’re an adult, but they are still important.

Keep adding to your list and watch it grow. When you realize all the things you’ve accomplished so far in your life, it can make quite an impact. You might say, “Wow! I really did all that?!” Yes, and you can do more!
3. Use Positive Thinking

There’s no underestimating the power of positive thinking. We often get stuck in negative thought loops about our abilities and ourselves. Thinking that way just attracts more of the same.

Start thinking more positively about yourself. Look back to your lists of unique qualities and accomplishments. Focus on them. You can also try using positive affirmations. These are present tense statements that you repeat to yourself over and over. They will train your mind to start thinking more positively. You might try a phrase like, “I accept myself” or “I am worthy and loveable.” Experiment and see what you come up with.
4. Be Kind to Yourself

We are often quick to forgive and show kindness to others. Why not do the same for yourself? How many times have you called yourself dumb, stupid or a loser? Stop! Don’t be so hard on yourself. You are human and allowed to make mistakes just like anyone else.

When you get upset with yourself, tell yourself that you can improve and get better. Making mistakes is part of learning and growing. Allow yourself to explore, fall down and get up again. It’s all part of life. Beating yourself up over things will cause you to withdraw and just make things worse. Show the same kindness for yourself as you would for others.

5. Practice

Know that you are constantly a work in progress. Self-acceptance doesn’t happen instantly or all at once. If you look back on your list of accomplishments you will see that these things didn’t happen overnight. They took time, preparation and effort. It’s the same with self-acceptance. As you practice things like self-kindness and positive thinking, you will pick up new lessons and experiences along the way. Enjoy these moments of evolution and keep going!

Learning to become “comfortable in your own skin” takes a lifetime of practice. It’s not so much an end goal to be reached, but rather a journey to be enjoyed. Accept yourself!

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